AFL Central Victoria regional general manager Carol Cathcart has joined the Netball Victorian board.
Cathcart, who became AFL Victoria Country's first female regional manager when she was appointed in 2016, is one of two new board members, whose appointments were ratified at Netball Victoria's annual meeting on Sunday.
In a sign of the times during the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was conducted online.
Her appointment continues a long affiliation with the sport for Cathcart, who previously spent eight years in roles with Netball Australia.
She coached the Australian 21-and-under squad for four years and was national head of high performance.
Cathcart, who coached Sandhurst and the BFNL inter-league squad at grassroots level, said netball had been a passion of hers since she was a little girl growing up in Bairnsdale in east Gippsland.
"I see this (board role) as another step in the evolution of my sports administration and coaching," she said.
"I'm fortunate to be in a position to try and give back to the sport.
"It's an honour and I certainly appreciate the people who have given me their vote of confidence and believe that I can represent them.
"And especially from a country and regional perspective and association and footy-netball level, I think I have a lot of experience I will be able to draw on in my new role.
"I think netball, like all sports, is something that brings people together, and it's a life-long passion, whether you are a player, or whether you are coaching or administrating, or are an umpire.
"Especially for females, netball has been a really positive area to be involved in and for a really long time."
Announcing the new appointments of Cathcart and Melbourne East Netball Association president Kylie Spears, Netball Victoria described the pair as "synonymous with netball".
Netball Victoria’s AGM went ahead as planned yesterday, despite being moved online due to the current regulations in place enforcing social distancing.— Netball Victoria (@netballvic) April 26, 2020
Thanks to our partner @cmsaustralasia or making this possible.
Read more about the proceedings: https://t.co/C7BMs5EBWmpic.twitter.com/Nyw1tZCEGg
"Cathcart brings a wealth of experience in the sport to the board, with experience as a player, coach, umpire and administrator," the organisation said.
"She currently holds the role of region general manager of AFL Central Victoria, and is passionate about ensuring netball's continual growth at all levels of the game, particularly in an ever-crowded regional sporting market."
The new pair replaces long-serving board members Marlene Elliott and Wendy Frost, who did not seek re-election.
I'm fortunate to be in a position to try and give back to the sport.Carol Cathcart
Cathcart and Spears join the board at one of the most challenging periods in its history, as sporting organisations at all levels, from grassroots to elite. across Australia continue to feel the pinch from the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's a challenging time for all sports, but I suppose I am a glass half-full person, I do believe we will get out the other side eventually and we will all be playing sport and doing what we love - getting out and spending time with people in our community," she said.
"It's a matter of time."
Cathcart previously held the role of manager of the Bendigo Football Netball League before her appointment as AFL Central Victoria region general manager.
She was the first woman in the league's more than 140-year history to be appointed as its manager in 2015.
Speaking in her capacity as regional general manager, Cathcart said AFL Central Victoria would continue to be guided by the AFL and federal and state governments on the potential easing of restrictions on football and netball activities.
"It's just my (personal) opinion, but when you have kids at home for school, there have to be a few things happen before we will be able to play sport," she said.
"A team sport is going face significantly different challenges than a tennis, or other (individual) sports would."
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